The West has moved from dawn to decadence, as Jacques Barzun so aptly put it in the year 2000 at the age of 94.
He was not the first scholar to see this. In 1941, Pitirim Sorokin said much the same thing in his little masterpiece, The Crisis of Our Age.
This crisis is only marginally about the economy. Therefore, it is only marginally about politics, which in our day is mostly about divvying up the political spoils — as politics always is. The spoils are generated by the market. Politics is mostly about moving market-generated capital to the state.
But what about capital that is not generated within a market in which ownership rights are legally exchanged? It is not tied to the market, and therefore it is not the target of politicians. I am talking about social capital. What is social capital? It is that form of capital — productive arrangements, mostly — that is not bought and sold in an organized market. Social capital is not owned by anyone, and therefore it is not for sale.
It can be squandered. This is the central fact of social life. It must steadily be replaced, moment by moment, century by century. As with all valuable assets, some individuals do most of the spending, and other individuals do the most of the accumulating. A good society is marked by an increase in social capital. The problem here is obvious: it is easier to squander than to accumulate. It is easier to knock down than to build up. Children learn this with blocks at an early age. Then they forget.
In my view, meaningful reform must begin in four areas: individual, church, family, and state. State comes last. For a generation, I have had this slogan: “Politics fourth.” In this sense, I am an Edmund Burke conservative and an Adam Smith libertarian. They were friends, and they agreed on most things.
– Gary North, “The Accelerating Depletion of America’s Social Capital”
One of the important aspects of social capital is a stable set of rules and boundaries, which allows people to make plans to generate more income for the future.
However, in our age, laws are believed to come from the State – that is, powerful men – and not from God. Thus, the laws are ever-arbitrary, ever-shifting, and ever-increasing.
This is even true of ‘unofficial laws’. For example, in France it was always understood that a major series of demonstrations can stop any legislation… until Christians and Muslims decided to demonstrate against homosexual marriage.
Then the laws and customs were casually rewritten, just like that.
I advice Christians to rule themselves, and not be ruled by those who utterly despise them, and will eagerly show their contempt at any and every opportunity.
A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. – Proverbs 12:10
The rule of the Compassionate Ones, in a nutshell.
Of course, they hate the build-up of social capital: putting the focus on self-governance, church, family, and business (as a function of family) before the state detracts people from ‘the true source of their life and liberty’, Our
Laughing Loving Masters.
Fortunately, these clowns are on the downward slope of their power and influence. They depend on taxes to rule: and their careful and comprehensive destruction of social capital leads remorselessly to the destruction of financial capital – which can only be generated in a stable legal & social environment, with a strong accent on liberty and Divine authority, not controls and State authority.
When the games are over, Christians will build.
It would please God though if Christians would be more careful about keeping out thieves, though, who are more than willing to steal their wealth with promises of Fairness and Equality, and then use Christian wealth as a stick to beat Christians.